Colorado Edition: Mysteries Of The West

Aug 29, 2019

Today on Colorado Edition: why two Northern Colorado school districts will ask voters for more money in the fall. Plus, we meet the forensic scientists who solve wildlife attacks and listen in on a conversation about media bias with Vanessa Otero. And, finally, a first look at an art exhibit that brings together a soda fountain, the atomic era and government conspiracy theories. 

News Of The Day:

  • National Popular Vote Colorado residents will soon have the chance to veto a decision made by their state legislature for the first time in more than 80 years. Voters will decide next year whether to uphold the state's decision to join the national popular vote compact. That's a group of states that wants to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. Opponents of the change gathered more than the 124,000 signatures they needed to get the issue on the ballot in 2020. Secretary of State Jena Griswold says the last time voters got a referendum on the ballot was in 1932, when they overturned the legislature's decision to tax Oleo margarine. 
     
  • Boulder Valley School District Hack - Around 60,000 current and former students in the Boulder Valley School District will be eligible for free credit monitoring as their data may have been hacked. Education software company Pearson says it identified a hack in its system earlier this year. Boulder Valley Schools are among the more than 13,000 schools and universities impacted across the country. Pearson says the breach was limited to students' full names and birthdates. So far, there's no evidence the information has been misused. The school district said in a statement that it's sent letters to everyone affected, and that Pearson will pick up the tab for credit monitoring services. The Daily Camera reports a handful of students in the St. Vrain Valley School District have also been notified that their data may have been compromised. 
     
  • E-Cigarettes - Boulder officials are moving forward to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarette products containing nicotine. The Daily Camera reports the city council has also finalized plans to make 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco and nicotine products. The city will also ask voters on the November ballot to approve a 40% sales tax on e-cigarette products. The town of Carbondale earlier this week also banned the sale of flavored e-cigarette and tobacco products. This comes after two cases of a severe respiratory illness were confirmed in the state. The illness is believed to be linked to e-cigarette usage. For more on this topic, listen to Monday's episode of Colorado Edition
     
  • Algae Danger - Officials are monitoring potentially harmful levels of blue-green algae at Golden Ponds in Longmont. Swimming and boating are banned but fishing is allowed. Officials warn park goers to make sure their pets avoid contact with the water. Blue-green algae can produce cyano-toxins that can be harmful to humans and animals. 
     
  • Camping Fees - Staff at Rocky Mountain National Park are proposing a camping fee increase, making the top price for a spot $30. The park says the fees have been the same for the last four years. Rocky is taking public comment on the proposal for the next month. 

Mill Levy Overrides

Credit Poudre School District

We learned earlier this week that two northern Colorado school districts will ask voters for more money this fall. To help us make sense of the news, we're joined by KUNC's education reporter, Stephanie Daniel

Wildlife Attack Forensics

Kim Frazier, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Forensics Laboratory.
Credit Maggie Mullen / Mountain West News Bureau

For a lot of people, when they hear about forensic science that's used to solve crime, they think of the CSI television franchise that's set in places like Miami, New York and Las Vegas. But, in fact, one of the most advanced forensic laboratires in the country is here in the Mountain West. Wyoming Public Radio's Maggie Mullen reports

Media Bias

 

The media bias chart.
Credit Courtesy of Vanessa Otero

Yesterday, we brought you part of a discussion about media bias from NPR's public editor, Elizabeth Jensen, from an event Erin O'Toole hosted in Boulder on Saturday. Today, we'll bring you another part of the conversation. 

Vanessa Otero is the person behind those "media bias" charts you may have seen. It's a unique way of parsing the sea of news outlets based on bias and the quality of their reporting. She described why she decided to make these charts, and the role of bias in the news. 

Yucca Fountain

Credit Stacy Nick / KUNC

Yucca Fountain was a soda shop in the Nevada desert in the 1950s. Not a lot is known about it, other than it was destroyed in a fire. But now two artists are bringing the fountain back to life for an exhibit at the University of Northern Colorado. KUNC arts reporter Stacy Nick reports

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music this week by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • "Bling Bong" by Robbie Reverb
  • "A Path Among the Woods" by Forest Robots
  • "Steadfast" by K2
  • "Palms Down" by Confectionery

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and Henry Zimmerman (@HWZimmerman), and produced by Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. News director Catherine Welch and managing editor Brian Larson contributed to this episode.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily news magazine taking an in-depth look at the issues and culture of Northern Colorado. It's available on our website, as well as on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, beginning Sept. 2, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m.