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KUNC's Colorado Edition: Another (Snowy) One Bites The Dust; We Are The (Beetle) Champions

Luke Runyon

On this week's Colorado Edition, a look at the little things in life: dust, and why it's really bad for snow, and beetles, and why they're bad news for invasive plants. 

A tall, invasive shrub is clogging waterways in the West, but scientists are deploying six-legged, picky troops to assist.  The tamarisk beetle is interested in eating (and destroying) only one thing: the tamarisk shrub.

We also explore why dust in the Rocky Mountains is a really big deal and not just for aesthetic reasons. Dust makes snow melt faster. That's a big problem for water managers in the Colorado River Basin.

Aesthetics are important in another part of Colorado's wilderness, namely at the Conundrum Hot Springs outside of Aspen. The thousands of visitors making the 17-mile round trip have taken a toll on the area's fragile ecosystem. Federal officials are now requiring permits for overnight camping in the area.

Also — there was plenty of political drama at last weekend’s state nominating assemblies. While the pool of candidates in the race to replace Gov. John Hickenlooper has shrunk a little, it’s still anyone’s guess who will be on the November ballot.

In another type of political action, teachers descended on the state Capitol Monday to protest for higher pay and in northern Colorado, teachers gathered outside a school in Fort Collins before classes to have their voices heard.

Then, U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the country's proportion of "young" businesses — less than five years old — is the lowest it's been in decades. That's playing out in Colorado, too. 

We hear about another national issue felt in Colorado: the opioid crisis. In our state, anyone can help prevent overdose deaths by carrying the "antidote" drug Nalaxone. You don't need a prescription and it can save lives.

In this week's review, KUNC film critic Howie Movshovitz shares his thoughts on the new thriller Beirut staring Jon Hamm. He says it's a thriller that fails at step one.

Finally, we remember Carl Kasell, beloved NPR newscaster and announcer/scorekeeper for Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! He passed away this week due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Music this week:

  • "Remember Me" by Kalatana
  • "Golden Hour" and "Beautiful Life" by Broke for Free
  • "Catching Glitter" by Split Phase
  • "Mandlebrots in Winter" and "A Path Among the Woods" by Forest Robots
  • "Good Grief" by Ryan Little

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a weekly look at the top stories from our newsroom. It's available every Friday on our website, as well as on iTunes , Google Play , Stitcher or wherever (RSS) you get your podcasts.