Colorado Edition: Test And Repeat

Oct 3, 2019

Today on Colorado Edition: as the results of new soil samples from Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge have been released, we'll look back at the history of the site. Plus, a new poll shows Americans' attitudes towards gun storage, and a Fort Collins journalist looks at what the city can learn from Texas about managing homelessness. Finally, a look at how lettuce has changed the San Luis Valley. 

News Of The Day:

  • Right To Die Lawsuit - A legal battle over Colorado's right-to-die law will be fought in state court, rather than federal. The case against provider Centura Health will be heard in Arapahoe County, where a terminally ill man and his doctor, Barbara Morris, originally filed it. Morris was fired for trying to help her patient end her life with the state's assisted suicide law. U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock said today he agrees with Centura Health that the case raises important questions about religious freedom, but he ruled that other criteria requiring the case to be heard in federal court weren't met. He says the religious freedom issues could still be addressed in state court. 
     
  • Ancestral Remains Returned - The White House announced Wednesday that Finland will return Native American ancestral remains and artifacts that were taken from what is now Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado. Finland will be returning the remains of about 20 individuals and 28 funerary objects that were taken more than a century ago. 
     
  • Great American Beer Festival - The Great American Beer Festival runs today through Saturday. The popular event features more than 800 craft brewers from around the country, along with special events including educational talks with live music. More than 60,000 people are expected to attend this year's festival at the Colorado Convention Center. 

Rocky Flats Test Results

Credit U.S. Department of Energy

New soil samples from Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge show safe levels of plutonium at the former nuclear weapons manufacturing site. That's after elevated readings were found this summer. 

State health officials asked for more samples after a soil grab from one area showed five times the safe levels of plutonium, which is dangerous to humans when inhaled. But the 25 samples recently collected and analyzed show levels within federal standards. 

To learn more about the history of Rocky Flats before it was a wildlife refuge, we called up David Havlick, a professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. 

Gun Storage Poll

Central Connecticut Arms in Portland, Connecticut, sells a variety of gun safes and cable locks. Connecticut is one of 11 states that has laws regarding firearm locking devices.Credit Ryan Lindsay / Guns And AmericaEdit | Remove

Most Americans support laws requiring gun owners to store their firearms with a lock, according to a new national poll from our reporting partners at Guns & America. Such legislation exists in 11 states, but as Adhiti Bandlamudi reports, there is no federal law mandating safe storage. 

Homelessness In Fort Collins

Lockers for the homeless outside of the Mennonite Fellowship in Fort Collins.
Credit Lily Tyson / KUNC

Last week, we spoke with Kevin Duggan of The Coloradoan about their recent series focused on homelessness in Fort Collins. But the scope of their reporting goes beyond Colorado. 

Senior reporter Pat Ferrier joins us to discuss her recent travel to Texas to explore different models being used there to address homelessness. 

Lettuce in the San Luis Valley

A worker in the San Luis Valley harvests lettuce, a staple crop for the region.
Credit Esther Honig / KUNC

Agriculture is more than what we eat — it has the power to shape culture and socio-economic divides. This has played out in many areas of the state, from dryland farming along the plains to melon crops in Rocky Ford. KUNC's Esther Honig has the story of how lettuce changed one of the poorest regions in the state, the San Luis Valley. 

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:

  • "Astrisk" by Bodytonic
  • "The Zeppelin" by Aeronaut
  • "Towboat Theme" by Towboat 

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, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m.