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KUNC's Colorado Edition: When The Dam Is Never Even Built

Luke Runyon

On this week's Colorado Edition, how a small increase in the minimum wage is having a big impact on businesses and workers. Other stories this week include a look at what the new farm bill means for the hemp market and a visit with a big, concrete reminder of an ugly part of Colorado history.

After nearly a century of heavy state and federal restrictions, hemp is now legal in the U.S. Esther Honig reports on how this cousin of the marijuana plant is part of a burgeoning market - and its legalization is happening right in time.

Like many other states, Colorado's minimum wage went up at the start of the new year. While it's far higher than the federal minimum, some argue it should be at least $15 an hour. Matt Bloom looks at what such an increase could mean for businesses and employers in Colorado.

Gun rights, gun control, gun violence - all are a huge part of American life, and all can be incredibly polarizing. To better understand why, our partners at Guns & America asked this question: "When you look at a gun, what do you see?" Leigh Paterson takes us to the small town of Walden, Colorado to meet a rancher who sees guns as a necessary tool of his trade.

There are some ugly parts of American history that would be easier to forget. Colorado's no exception. Luke Runyon came across a lesser known moment in the state's water past - and the century-old structure that still stands as a reminder of the time the KKK came to power in Longmont.

In the 1960s the Green Book was a guide to safe accommodations in the South for African-American motorists. It's also the title of a movie based on the actual experience of a black musician and his white driver in 1962. KUNC film critic Howie Movshovitz, who teaches film and television at CU Denver, says the actors save an out-of-date script.

In the headlines:

  • Full-strength beer is now available at grocery and convenience stores. To commemorate, a pair of Budweiser Clydesdales visited the state Capitol.
  • Spending by special interest groups was up significantly in more than a dozen congressional races leading up to last year's midterm elections - including in Colorado's 6th Congressional District. In all, special interest groups spent $11.7 million in that race, outspending both candidates.
  • The state's Division of Insurance recovered more than $34 million for Coloradans who either had their insurance incorrectly revoked, were overcharged or were owed money from a life insurance policy.
  • Inspired by a positive response to its Breaking Barriers Festival last fall, Denver is expanding its arts programming to be more inclusive. Step one: inviting deaf rock band Beethoven's Nightmare.

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

Our intro music is "Remember Me" by Colorado musician Kalatana. The midshow break is "Bling Bong" by Robbie Reverb. Other music this week by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • "Lamplist"
  • "Waterbourne"
  • "Levanger"
  • "Cicle Deserrat"
  • "Rough Hewn"

This episode was hosted and produced by assistant news director Erin O'Toole and managing editor Brian Larson. Digital manager Ashley Jefcoat handled the web. News director Catherine Welch contributed to this episode.

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. You can hear it on the air every Sunday at 9 p.m. on KUNC.