Stephanie Paige Ogburn

Jeffrey Beall / Flickr-Creative Commons

Air quality on busy roads usually isn't all that great. But while getting to and from work, commuters -- whether they drive or ride bikes -- are often on busy roads. Colorado State University mechanical engineering professor John Volckens wanted to see if there was a way to change commutes to limit exposure to dirty air.

"We wanted to figure out a way so that people could empower themselves to make choices to reduce their exposure to air pollution during commuting," said Volckens.

To see if there was an easy way to do this, 45 commuters were outfitted with backpacks containing multiple air quality measuring instruments and turned loose on the streets of Fort Collins.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is debating new rules aimed at easing some of the tensions between local governments and oil and gas operations. The rules focus on improving communication and negotiation between local governments and energy companies.

While the rules won't be finalized until December 2015, many in local government don't see them offering a fix. They point to current drilling proposals to show that, even if the rules move forward in their current form, local authorities will still lack the control they want.

Colorado State Demography Office

Northern Colorado's home and condo prices are not ticking up quite as fast as they were earlier in 2015. But the lull is typical heading into winter, say real estate experts.

If you look year over year, the median single family home price of $304,000 for the Northeast Region, which covers Boulder, Larimer, Logan, Morgan and Weld counties, is still nearly 15 percent higher than the $265,000 it was at this time in 2014.

Prices for townhomes and condos market are also staying up. With a median price of $225,000 in the Northeast Region, the prices for these units are 19 percent higher versus the same time in 2014.

Wikimedia Commons

In 1999, West Nile virus snuck into the United States. Like many border-crossing diseases, the virus wreaked more havoc in its new home, where those it infected hadn't developed immunity. While the virus infects humans, and can be fatal, it was deadliest in a different population: North American birds.

When the virus first appeared, Luke George, a researcher at Colorado State University who studies birds, said there were reports of dead birds. Lots of them.

"That was how people knew it had showed up in North America is they were seeing lots of dead crows and jays, especially in suburban areas."

George and other scientists knew West Nile killed other birds too, but many thought after an initial die-off most populations recovered. No one really knew the true effect on North American birds, until George and some other researchers decided to take a closer look.

courtesy Colorado State University

It's a windy morning in early June, and Colorado State University researcher Jennifer Barfield is peering anxiously at a herd of bison. One is trying, really hard, to have a baby. Its her first birth, and the mama bison keeps laying down, then standing up, trying to get the calf out of her body.

Barfield takes another look at the mama, who is penned in with a small herd of other bison at the CSU Foothills Campus.

"The feet of the baby are sticking out about 3-4 inches, and she's pushing which is a good sign," she notes. Barfield's normally-smiling face is furrowed with anxiety though; the birth, which usually takes less than an hour, is moving too slowly. Today, she knows, is more than just a birth. It's the culmination of years of work.

Jim Hill / KUNC

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is considering two new rules governing how oil and gas operators work in populated areas. The draft rules stem from two unanimous recommendations made by Gov. John Hickenlooper's oil and gas task force. Both relate to giving local governments more say in where companies drill.

The task force's goal was to forestall a ballot effort to ban oil and gas development in some parts of the state. Yet responses to the recommendations, and now to the COGCC's draft rules, show many believe they are not addressing the concerns that led communities and citizens to call for a ballot measure.

Jim Hill / KUNC

Across Colorado, the failure of existing providers to provide fast, reliable broadband means many counties and towns are investigating other options. One Front Range town, Longmont, is already providing high-speed internet to its citizens at a cost below that of Google Fiber.

Yet in Colorado, in order to offer broadband services, municipalities need to override a 2005 state law. Known as, SB 05-152 [.pdf], the law requires voter approval before a government entity can provide telecommunications services such as broadband.

In the 2014 election, several municipalities and counties voted in favor of an override, including the city of Boulder. Now in 2015, the override trend seems to be sweeping Colorado. Forty-five counties, municipalities and school districts have a broadband override on their ballot.

Moishe Lettvin

Folsom Street is a north-south artery that runs through Boulder. It already has a bike lane, but in the summer of 2015, officials decided to try an experiment. On a mile-long stretch, they would try to make the street even more bike-friendly. To do this, they took away a car lane and added wider, buffered bike lanes set off from the street by white plastic posts.

The experiment was supposed to last a year, while the city collected data on changes to traffic speeds, crash data and the number of cyclists using the improved corridor. Yet after a huge public outcry, Boulder backed away from the changes less than three months in.

emerson12 / Flickr-Creative Commons

This summer, Boulder decided to conduct an experiment that would make the town a little more bike friendly. The city started the "Living Lab" project on Folsom Street, a north-south artery that runs through town.

The goal was improving travel safety, for bikes and pedestrians, but also cars. To do this, the city reduced Folsom Street from four lanes to three, and added wider, protected bike lanes. The project, which began in July, was supposed to last a year. It lasted eight weeks. 

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

On a chilly morning outside Colorado Springs, Erin Siepker is learning to shoot clay pigeons.

“Pull,” Siepker says.

The target springs from a trap. Siepker aims, then misses, muttering, “Oh, shoot. I messed that one up, didn’t I?”

Siepker is part of a group of about 15 women who gave up half their day to attend a Ladies Cast and Blast event at the Pikes Peak Gun Club. The free, women-only training is offered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

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